Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) looks differently in adult than the stereotyped beliefs we have about kids with ADHD.  In adults, there’s still symptoms such as distractability, disorganization, and impulsiveness.  However, many of the symptoms show up in a more coded way.  This is especially evident in relationships as spouses translate the ADHD person’s behavior through their own lens.

ADHD Statistics


Greater chance of being in a car crash

Times the substance abuse rates above the national average for those with untreated ADHD.


Cases of Adults have Severe ADHD


ADHD Adults diagnosed with Anxiety


Forgetting to do promised tasks can lead to a state of distrust between partner.  A pattern of forgetting can lead one’s partner to feel as though they must remember for the both of you.  Dangerous territory, it pushes one person into the parent role as the other seemingly take on the child one.

Cluttered Disorganization

Often times, cleaniless values in couples do not align.  One person may require the house to be at a particular standard in order for it to feel clean.  The other, often the ADHD partner, lacks attention to detail and may not even see a mess when there is one.  More communication is needed to get on the same page.

Strong Emotions

A lesser known hallmark of ADHD is a disinhibition of emotions.  We can understand how impulsivity results in blurted out thoughts and the same process happens with emotions.  Problematic during arguments, the ADHD spouse is more likely to get “flooded” by strong emotions that they have difficulty moderating.

Distracted Conversations

The ADHD partner may have every intent on closely listening to their spouse’s day.  This may also be biologically understimulating resulting in strategies to cope such as also being on their phone or doing another task.  Unintentionally, this gives the non-ADHD spouse the message that what they are talking about is not important.

While the ADHD spouse must ask for a lot of grace with their symptoms, there are strategies to improve – especially when it’s affecting the marriage.  Both parties can help the situation by educating themselves and trying new methods of communicating.  Below are some resources to assist both of you.

If ADHD has deteriorated communication and functioning in your marriage, I can help.  Contact me for a free phone consultation to see if Decision Counseling is right for you and your relationship.

The ADHD Effect on Marriage: Understand and Rebuild Your Relationship in Six Steps by Melissa Orlov

Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.? Stopping the Roller Coaster When Someone You Love Has Attention Deficit Disorder by Gina Pera

Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder by Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey

You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!: The Classic Self-Help Book for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo

The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD: An 8-Step Program for Strengthening Attention, Managing Emotions, and Achieving Your Goals by Lidia Zylowska

What are your recommendations?  What books have helped you or someone you know successfully manage ADHD in marriage?

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